Bishop Jacob Afolabi: How faith overcomes obstacles

Bishop Jacob Afolabi, Senior Pastor, Christ Chapel Bible Church

Bishop Jacob Afolabi, Senior Pastor, Christ Chapel Bible Church

by Bishop Jacob Afolabi

(Mark 7:24-30)   

God designed Faith to be capable of destroying obstacles. Like a harmer is designed to break stones; a needle is designed to pull thread through clothes; a spoon is designed to carry food from plate to mouth, etc, etc.

Most of the people here on earth have several important needs. I would go a step farther and say that most people today have one or more major needs in their lives and they may not see how their need can be met.

In the midst of your problems, you need someone to help you. You need someone you can turn to for your solution.  You don’t need Him to lift every burden, just the heaviest.  You don’t need Him to move every mountain, just the highest. You don’t need God to give you the whole loaf, just a crumb. Your Faith will be satisfied with just the crumbs from the Master’s table.

That is the situation we are looking at in this passage today. Jesus is approached by a mother who is in a desperate situation. She needs something in her life. She comes to Jesus not asking for the whole meal but for the crumbs.

Jesus and His men go to Tyre and Sidon, which is in the heart of Gentile territory. Once again, they try to get some rest from the pressures of the ministry. But, we are told in verse 24 that “He could not be hid.” That is always the case! When Jesus is in a person, a family, a church, a community, or wherever, He simply cannot be hidden!

This woman came to Jesus because she was concerned about her daughter. The child was demon possessed and was probably acting out in violence and anger.   It may be that the demon is causing bodily harm to the child.  Perhaps she had heard about how Jesus had healed all manner of diseases;   Some of the greatest benefits are obtained at the feet of Jesus  if only we can stoop that low in humility and surrender. (Mk. 5:22)

This woman came to Jesus because faith and hope had been aroused in her heart.  She needed something that society had not been able to provide.  She was looking for something that her religion had been powerless to give her.  She needed a solution that she had not been able to provide by her own self-efforts. She was desperate and she saw Jesus as her only hope!

“But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”

When we are desperate, we must be careful how we answer and how we proceed when we are challenged by comments about our status; or when we are offended about people’s opinions about our moral, ethical, or even racial condition.

The woman had several obstacles
The Obstacle Of Race – Verse 26 tells us that this woman was from Tyre and Sidon.  This  tells us that she was a Canaanite.  She was from a region known for vile religious practices. This woman had two strikes against her from the very start.  She was a Gentile mother crying out to the Jewish Messiah. She had no right to come to Jesus through the door of Judaism

The Obstacle Of Racism – When the disciples see and hear this Gentile calling out to their Messiah, they react by telling Jesus to send her away! They wanted nothing to do with her. She was not one of their people! In their eyes, she was different and that was enough to justify them not caring about her at all. People face similar challenges even today. We should let the faith of our hearts overcome the challenges in our lives.

The Obstacle Of Rejection – As Jesus speaks to this woman, His words appear harsh to our ears. His words must have shaken her to the very core of her being. His words probably broke her heart. Matt. 15:23-26 adds much detail concerning this conversation. In the end her faith won the day for her. Her requests were granted by the expression of her faith in the Messiah.

What obstacles are you facing in your life? Persist in seeking the Lord and in His time, you will see every barrier fall! Your faith will not be defined by what you receive from God; but by what it takes to stop you from getting to God!

What’s stopping you?

About the writer

Nigerian-born Bishop Jacob Afolabi is Senior Pastor at the Christ Chapel Bible Church in Ottawa. He received the 2017 Black History Ottawa Community Builder award for his many years of community work, including founding the Ottawa Pastors’ forum, contributing inspiring articles in community newspapers and commentary on community radio stations, as well training a new generation of pastors. He can be reached at: bishop@christschapel.com.

 

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